A third-generation coal miner and Morgantown native, Benjamin M. Statler began his career as a laborer with Consolidation Coal in 1969 and worked the night shift while pursuing his bachelor's degree in mining engineering at West Virginia University.
He rose through the ranks at CONSOL to become senior vice president of mining in 1996. He later started his own mining company, PinnOak Resources LLC, acquiring assets from U.S. Steel Corporation. He currently serves as co-founder and chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Capital Partners, a private investment firm founded in 2008, which is focused on acquiring and providing capital to middle market companies in special situations.
In 2012, Statler and his wife, Jo, pledged $34 million to the College — the largest single gift commitment ever to the University and to a college; $11 million of the donation qualified for a match from the state's Research Trust Fund, making the total value of the naming gift $45 million.
Over the years, the Statlers have supported many WVU initiatives including the comprehensive breast cancer program at WVU's Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center; the new Erickson Alumni Center building; the Basketball Practice Facility and other Athletics capital improvements, including the Coliseum scoreboards. The direct impact of their lifetime of support to WVU is nearly $60 million.
The Statlers have received numerous honors, including Most Loyal West Virginians, the WVU Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropists Award, and the Milan Puskar Award. In 2009, they each received honorary doctorates from WVU during commencement ceremonies.
Statler is a member of the West Virginia University's Foundation Board of Directors and serves as a member of the College's Visiting Committee. He also is a member of the College's leadership team for the "A State of Minds" fund raising campaign.